Monday, March 31, 2008

Time To Be Honest

A friend of mine from the real world (does anyone remember those? They are the friends we had before blogging that we can actually touch) was looking at my blog for the first time this past weekend and had a few questions after reading through many of my past posts.

While a lot of the questions centered around the question of why I haven’t been fired from my job yet because I seem to offer no real productivity at work, there was one question that really set me back on my heels. I mean the heels of my feet. I don’t wear heels. I just feel that needs to be stated. Although, I don’t want anyone thinking anything just because I feel that needs to be stated. Ok, let’s just drop this whole topic. What I was getting at was the fact that my friend called me out on something that I didn’t anticipate having to answer. This must be what it feels like when a politician has that skeleton (or high priced call girl) in his closet brought out for all the world to see.

At first I felt betrayed and then I realized that I was the one who was committed the real betrayal here. I value all of my blog friends and that is why I feel I need to be honest with all of you before I can sit down with a clean conscience, full of peace, to write another blog post. I am ashamed to admit that I DON’T REALLY LIKE CHEESE. I never have. (Ok, please hear me out and don’t leave yet, I beg you). In fact, I am lactose intolerant and really don’t enjoy any dairy product. So, before you read one more sentence, please allow me to offer my apologies to those of you that I have mislead for the last 550 or so posts.

Now, I’d like to explain my subterfuge (as a blogging friend would say). I made a reference to cheese once and it was so well received that I just had to keep referencing it. I guess it’s the same type of trick that NYPD Blue used in making everyone appear naked at some point on the show. Only my trick was contrived and was a lot easier to stomach than having to see Dennis Franz’ rear end. My supposed love of cheese connected me with so many of my fellow bloggers that I just found myself unable to break that bond. I got so caught up in my own lie and the benefits I gained from it that I could not stop.

Now I know how Barry Bonds feels, except for the fact that I never had a shot at the Hall of Fame, well the Baseball Hall of Fame. I think I've still got a shot at the Bocce Ball Hall of Fame. It's much swankier and a lot harder to get into. In fact, most people have never heard of it BECAUSE it's so swanky. I’ve tried to eat cheese, but when it melts it gets so greasy. There is a cheese processing plant where I live in Corona and I have to drive by it daily. Have you ever smelled the elephant or camel pens on a really hot, sunny and slightly humid day at the zoo? That’s what this cheese plant smells like. Really, who wants to eat a slice of cheddar with that scent still lingering (or should I say ‘limburgering’) in the air?

I guess I knew that I’d always have to face this day. I just hoped I could perpetuate my little ‘I love cheese’ gig a bit longer. So, my dear blogging friends, I am sorry. Please continue to visit my blog and allow me to visit yours. In a way, getting this off my chest has made me feel so much better, just like when they removed my chest tube after surgery. Who knows, maybe getting out from under this lie will make my writing better.

I feel so refreshed after sharing this with you that I think I will share something else I’ve been meaning to tell you all…

…APRIL FOOLS!!!!!!! Are you crazy, of course I love cheese. Heck, I’m eating string cheese while trying to type this. It actually made me physically pained to even have to write the words ‘I don’t like cheese.’ Can you imagine someone not liking cheese? Even worse, can you imagine liking cheese but not being medically able to eat it? Oh the humanity. Trust me my friends, everything I wrote above was a lie. Cheese is the lifeblood that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. It’s my sustenance and my honey pot. OK, maybe throwing in the Winnie the Pooh analogy was a little much, but remember that my world is often seen through the eyes of two 5 year olds. So, thanks for letting me try to bastardize my love of cheese in order to make an April Fools joke. Although, I still don’t wanna see the butt of Dennis Franz’s gun, if ya know what I mean…

Saturday, March 29, 2008

6 Words, That’s All. No More. No Less (Wait, That Was 8)

I have seen this tag around blogsville a few times over the last few weeks. Each time I did, I was overcome with joy that I had not been selected to describe my life in only 6 words. It’s much like the way I feel when I wake up on a Saturday or Sunday and think for about 30 seconds that it’s a work day and then realize it isn’t and I can go back to bed. The reason? I could only ever come up with one word: ‘What?’ And let’s face it; that’s not much to brag about. Then, I opened up my blog comments the other day only to discover that I had been tag teamed (that’s what she said) by the deputies of both Karma and Misfortune. Now, I don’t blame the wonderful Hotfessional who tagged me (after all, being tagged and thought of by any fellow blogger is a wonderful gesture), but now I have to use 6 words to describe myself. I probably know about 67 words (although once you take out certain expletives I have learned from Female Coworker that are not allowed in the workplace and are probably illegal in several bible belt states, the total is closer to 23), so you’d think this wouldn’t be a problem. Since I really don’t want to disappoint Hotfessional, I will attempt to describe my life in 6 words. Before we get to that however, I’d like to offer up a little history of this exercise…

The concept was started by
Smith Magazine, with the back story being that Hemingway himself was once asked to sum up his story with just 6 words. His reply was: ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ I’ll be honest with you all: participating in this is very likely the only thing I will ever have in common with Mr. Hemingway (unless I ever make it to Cuba for vacation), so I might as well do it. Then, I can return to work on Monday and say things like ‘did you know that Ernest Hemingway and I were both able to describe our lives with only 6 words? I don’t think YOU’VE described your life in 6 words. Have you?’ Come on now; you know that sounds impressive. Although I guess I’d better keep that type of bragging to myself because several years of going around saying things like that has probably been what brought on this karma and comeuppance in the first place. Well, that and trying to get the most done with the least amount of effort. Hey, come to think of it, describing a life in 6 words should be right up my alley.

So, I kicked around a lot of 6 word combinations, but I don’t think words like ‘erthjhjy’ and ‘ketchagoo’ qualify as real words. This left me with one final 6-word summary of my life. And it is:

‘good people, good food, endless vacation.’

It’s not profound, but it essentially sums up me and what I feel makes the perfect life. And, it’s a whole lot better than what I almost decided to go with:
‘more meat and more cheese, please,’
even though this last one does portray my good manners…

I would like to tag ALL of my regular visitors and commenters who have not already done this. What’s the worst that could come of it? One more blog post idea that was dropped in your lap? See, that’s not so bad.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Sad Day Indeed

Though I’ve known about the possibility of this happening for a while now, it was made official earlier this week. I am losing my muse, my inspiration, my nemesis, my sworn foe, the Admiral Decker to my A-Team, the Khan to my Kirk, the Dwight to my Jim, the Jack Donaghy to my Liz Lemon, the Clinton to my Obama (and to be totally balanced and fair), the Huckabee to my McCain. Female Coworker is moving to the Lone Star State, the Great State of Texas. I don’t know the official date yet, but coming soon, she will no longer be around our office.

If you’ve spent more than, oh, about 2 minutes on my blog, you would think that I would be renting a bounce house, hiring a catererererer (were there too many ‘ers’ there? I tried to spell it as it sounded) and playing Ella Fitzgerald’s version of ‘Ding Dong, The Witch Is Dead’ on constant repeat to help me celebrate. Actually, I’m not doing that, though to be honest, she hasn’t left it, so there’s still a good chance that I will. But, I’m a little sad and a little worried about my archenemy’s final bow (yes, I’m trying to play up the good versus bad melodrama here). I am worried about what I will write about and what I will now do in the office instead of while working to try to get her all riled up so that I can learn another 17 decorative ways to use the F-Bomb. She weaves that four-letter word like a tapestry rug you’d find at Costco for $45 even though it would retail elsewhere for $99.

She was out of the office two days this week and we got a little glimpse of what things without her will be like (and this is the part where you cut to the outside shot late at night and you can hear the whippoorwill coo and the crickets crick chirp). It was quiet and peaceful and totally warm and unintimidating (or since my spell checker doesn’t recognize that word, the exact opposite of intimidating). It was the first time at work that I could actually hear my bionic (OK, fine, ‘artificial,’ even though that doesn’t sound as cool) heart valve tick. It was nice, until about 10AM when Partner In Crime broke the silence of the work morning by saying it was just too quiet. We all started cussing to try and bring the familiar sand-papery tones of her anger into the office, but it just wasn’t the same. Heck, at lunch that day, those of us who were there could barely string 5 words together to say to each other. So, we just spent the remainder of lunch telling our favorite tales of Female Coworker.

I told her yesterday that I was actually going to miss her. She responded by calling me a sissy. Then, she asked why no one would miss her. I calmly explained it was because we were all afraid of her. Then, I flinched and ran away. Yet, I think under that hard candy shell, there might actually be a chewy center. You know, that whole candy analogy seemed like a good idea before I started typing it, sorry about that. Late yesterday she told me that I was welcome to come see her and her family after they’ve settled down in Texas. Though I didn’t say it, my first response was something along the lines of ‘yeah, I’m going to go see you in a state where they have ample access to cattle prods.’

I have no idea who will replace her, but that individual will certainly have some very big shoes to fill, kind of like the ones that rolled up when the house landed on the witch in Oz, kind of. I just hope it’s someone who will give me something to write about, although not fearing the new person would be nice. I am going to have to increase my daily walks for exercise though since I will now be able to walk directly passed her cubicle when the new person is in it instead of going all the way around the office just to avoid her. Passing her cubicle now is like dodging sniper fire on the airport tarmac in Bosnia, or something like that.

Though she hasn’t left yet, I feel like a big chapter in my life is nearing an end. It’s that chapter where the ‘all-clear’ is sounded meaning that the German bombers have stopped attacking and you can go outside again. All that’s left now is for her to flip us off as she is driving away for the last time.

Memories, pressed between the pages of my mind. Memories, sweeten through the ages just like wine…memories, sweet, sweet, memories…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Happiness Is. Or Isn’t…

Happiness is a bunch of stuff. It’s fun being happy. It’s also fun saying things that you know will agitate your coworkers, it’s fun getting to Disneyland in the evening when there are 4 times as many people coming towards you to leave as there are going in with you and it’s a whole lot of fun teaching two little 5-year-old girls how to say ‘that’s what she said.’ Here is some more stuff that equals happiness, at least to me, because something tells me that your list might differ slightly, as in a lot:

Happiness is lowering the basketball hoop as low as it can go when no one is looking so you can pretend your low post moves are as good as Shaq’s, before you twist your ankle.

The exact opposite of happiness is making a long basketball shot from the street and there is no one around to witness it. Ok, it was an unplanned bank shot, but I’m still counting it!

Happiness is opening the fridge and the first two things you see are a block of cheese and some corn tortillas. Though I’ll admit that it’s a little weird when they start calling out to me.

The exact opposite of happiness is getting out the cheese and the tortillas with grand thoughts of quesadillas floating in your head only to find that the cheese has mold.

Happiness is flipping through the channels after a hard day’s work and finding that there is a Clipper game on that you had forgotten about AND Lucy and Ethel are content playing outside with the dog.

The exact opposite of happiness is finding a Clipper game on TV after a hard day at work and then realizing it is the Clippers and they are going to lose by 25 points.

Happiness is walking across your freshly mowed lawn knowing that at least for that day, you have the nicest lawn on the block. You’ll feel like a king, I tell ya!

The exact opposite of happiness is walking across your freshly mowed lawn and then discovering 4 new gopher holes that you swear were not there 30 minutes ago and are starting to make your lawn resemble the surface of the moon.

Happiness is looking at your TiVo recorded list and seeing that there is a John Wayne movie that you forgot you had taped. Well, Pilgrim, I kinda like when that happens…

The exact opposite of happiness is sitting down in front of the TV only to catch the end credits of your favorite movie.

Happiness is waking up in the morning with one of the best blog post ideas you’ve ever had. Yes, it probably deals with cheese, Tina Fey or being the only grown up in the bounce house.

The exact opposite of happiness is realizing you should have written down the greatest blog post idea you have ever has as soon as you woke up.

Happiness is being the only adult in the bounce house and getting to relish (mmmmm, relish) the joys of being a kid again.

The exact opposite of happiness is being the only adult in the bounce house, falling awkwardly because you are now too dizzy and being responsible for collapsing the bounce house and incurring the wrath of 10-little kids…and their parents.

Happiness is being contacted by a newspaper syndicate with the offer of a nationally syndicated daily column.

The exact opposite of happiness is making up a story about being offered a syndicated newspaper column just to impress an old high school acquaintance and then being asked by said acquaintance when it will be published.

Happiness is hearing Female Coworker sing ‘It’s a hard knock life’ incorrectly as ‘It’s a hard ‘nuff life’ and getting to correct her.

The exact opposite of happiness is having to explain to all of your coworkers how you happen to know the correct version of that ‘Annie’ song.

Happiness is female coworker asking at lunch if anyone wants to eat her muffin (I swear I’m not making that up).

The exact opposite of happiness is getting ready to say ‘That’s what she said’ to female coworker and then realizing your boss is right there saying ‘don’t say it, Michael.’

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Today’s Meaningless Holiday? Whatever You Want It To Be!!

It’s been a long year folks, but March 26th is finally upon us. I started to get really itchy mid-January. I just didn’t think I was going to make it, but finally the wait is over and one of the best days of the year is here. I can finally stop looking with longing at the big blue circle I made around March 26th. It’s ‘Make Up Your Own Holiday’ Day. Yep, the day where you or me or us or them or we get to make Wednesday about whatever it is we or me or you or them or us want. I’m trying to post this early enough so that you still have time to call in sick and celebrate your holiday.

Getting to decide what you want Wednesday’s holiday to be about is a very big responsibility, just like making the choice between a kraut dog or a Chicago dog at Weinerschnitzel, and that’s AFTER you’ve made the decision choosing Weinerschnitzel over any other fast food place to begin with. There are so many options. After all, we have so many different passions, interests and things we’d love to celebrate. Do we go all Sesame Street and make Wednesday the day of the letter ‘D’ or the number ‘3?’ Whoa, that got kinda Dr. Seussian there…

Do we celebrate something selfishly that just we (by which of course I mean you or they or them or him or her) like or try to make it more universal? The weight of this decision is enough to crush someone. Of course I mean that figuratively, because the pounds per square inch of a decision that would be necessary to render someone crushed is beyond calculable. Or not. To be honest, I really have no idea. I just keep typing until all my thoughts have been expended and then I add a period. And now, I am woefully off topic, although I think I finally figured out why I don’t interview well when up for a job.

Ok, back to the holiday. With all the news coverage of it lately, you might assume that Wednesday’s holiday was going to be ‘Let’s Keep Talking About Britney’s Appearance on How I Met Your Mother’ Day by default, but the beauty of this holiday is that you decide. Or, I decide and I can tell you that I will not be celebrating ‘Let’s Keep Talking About Britney’s Appearance on How I Met Your Mother’ Day. Since this is such an overwhelming responsibility, I would like to offer you some potential holidays for your consideration. Obviously with Wednesday bearing down on us by the time this is posted, we’ll have to act quickly to get banners, streamers, balloons and the ticker tape parade ready. Oh yeah, the dip. I forgot that we’ll need to prepare the chips and dips. I’m thinking onion, hummus and guacamole, though preferably in separate containers.

The first holiday that comes to me is ‘I Feel Fine But Really Don’t Want To Go Into The Office Today’ Day. This one is pretty straightforward. You wake up tomorrow morning, call your boss and say something like ‘Well good morning. How are you? Oh, I’m fine, thanks for asking. Well here’s the reason I’m calling. See, I like you and I like getting a paycheck and all, but I really don’t want to come into work today. No, I’m fine. I feel great actually, it’s just that I don’t want to deal with working today, but I’ll see you tomorrow though. Maybe we can have coffee together or try that new steak place for lunch. Oh and by the way, since I’m declaring this my holiday, I do expect to be paid for today.’ Of course you don’t have to recite that verbatim, but you get the general idea. I’ll leave how you will celebrate ‘I Feel Fine But Really Don’t Want To Go Into The Office Today’ Day up to you. I would like to suggest that you incorporate your favorite beverage, a hammock and some Jimmy Buffett into it though.

Then there is always ‘Rachael Ray Is Starting To Control Way Too Many Forms Of Media And That Scares Me Day.’ I can think of a few bloggers right off the top of my head that will want to celebrate this one. The basic theme of this holiday is to avoid all things Rachael Ray, or basically stay in your closet with the lights off until Thursday morning because that chick is EVERYWHERE!

Another nice idea for consideration is ‘Eat Like It’s Your Last Day On Earth’ Day. It’s all about eating with no guilt or repercussions other than stomach pain that will make you scream for your mother and wish that you had never been given teeth or a mouth or a stomach or the ability to feel hunger, but that’s just a temporary side effect of course. For one day, just wear pants or shorts with an elastic waistband and eat everything that you have been working so hard to avoid. Chili Dogs, burgers, lobster tail, 3 slices of Key Lime Pie chased with a slice of coconut cream chased by a slice of pecan, ribs – smoked and sauced, steak, Monte Cristos, crème brule and Elvis’ fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. These are obviously examples pulled from thin air, but I wanted to give you options. Basically, I call it the Trump Method: if you see it and you want it, then get it.

I haven’t decided what I will celebrate yet. It might be cheese related, it might involve me doing something that will require hospitalization or at the very least me saying ‘hey, watch this’ followed by the emergency application of a tourniquet. Perhaps I will celebrate a holiday that involves giving bloggers who have the initials of MC and identical twin daughters buckets of cash. You know, something subtle and slightly understated for the day. One thing is for sure, I’ll be spending all night trying to figure out how to get a paid day off for it though…

As if this post wasn’t long enough (that’s what she said) and didn’t meander all over the place, I’m guest blogging at ...And The Pursuit Of Happiness on Wednesday. Please stop by because it’ll probably be quite a while until I write this much again…unless you are an interested publisher. In that case, I can easily crank out 10,000 words a day. Seriously, it’s as easy for me as chewing…

Monday, March 24, 2008

If Only Don Pardo Was My Tag Along Friend…

I have a problem. It’s a big one (I’m really, really resisting saying TWSS here, by the way) and I need to discuss it. My problem: I seem to enjoy and actually have the biological need to quote memorable lines from Saturday Night Live in almost every conversation I have. I actually cannot stop myself from doing it. I won’t say that I get a tick in my face or anything like that when an SNL quoting opportunity presents itself, but I do get a little giddy. To help you understand, I can only say it’s very similar to that pure rush of joy you get when someone around you blurts out ‘That’s What She Said’ for the first time and then says something like ‘Dammit Michael (or your name), now you’ve got me doing it,’ to which you HAVE to reply ‘I know, that’s what she said.’ Getting the final TWSS in helps assert your mastery of the art over them and prevents them from getting too big headed too early in their TWSS career, but that's really, really besides the point here.

Sometimes, SNL things happen at work that just seem to fall into my lap. Take last week for instance when I was asked to return a call to someone with the same name as an original SNL cast member. Due to client confidentiality and all that overly legal, I need to keep my job mumbo jumbo, I’ll just say she was very short and very funny and married Gene Wilder and sadly died of cancer. I know what you’re thinking; that was so descriptive that I might as well just have told you her name. But, that description was offered to throw you off. This client’s name is the same as the original cast member who was really tall and really skinny and played the Coneheads’ daughter. I’m sorry, but that’s really the only hint I can give you. When I received the message to call this client I could not stop saying her name in my best Don Pardo impersonation, which for some reason sounded a lot more like the late Don Adams from ‘Get Smart.’ Perhaps this is why no one in the office knew why I kept going around saying her name in the voice that I used, no matter HOW MANY TIMES I kept saying it. I joked with my boss that when I called her and she answered the phone that instead of saying hello and identifying myself, I would just say her name in my 'Don Pardo but really closer to Don Adams, at least they both have the first name of Don' impersonation. As you might have already figured, he asked me not to. Well, it was more like he TOLD me not to.

I was also cursed blessed with having the LAST cubicle before the office’s copy machine. I know I don’t need to tell those of you who are SNL fans what comes next, but for the sake of the rest of you, I will. Yep, everyone who heads to the copier in our office is…wait for it…wait for it…ok, here it comes: ‘makin’ copies!’ Most of the work mates are numb to it as if beaten into submission pretty accepting and good humored about it. The lone exception is of course Female Coworker. I don’t care how many times she threatens to kick me in the ankles, flip me off or flash me with the big ‘loser’ L with her fingers on her forehead, I will ALWAYS say ‘Femalus Coworkerino makin’ copies’ each and every time she passes by with documents needing to be mimeographed (while I don’t play Scrabble, that has to be a major point word).

Then are the times we go to In ‘N Out Burgers for cheese burgers (cheese burger, cheese burger, cheese burger, cheese burger…), the times someone says they don’t feel well (time for blood letting from Steve Martin’s ‘Medieval Doctor’) and the times when I find myself doing Dan Akyroyd’s Fred Garvin, Male Prostitute (don’t ask, although I will say that I only do the voice and HR has not had to be called). I have lost track of the times I have told Female Coworker that ‘she looks marvelous,’ regardless of how she looks. Our office is next to a gym, so when we are in the parking lot and happen to see the men who spend a little too much time at the weights, I can’t stop myself from uttering ‘we’re here to pump…you up.’ And who can hear a bit of bad news and not respond by saying ‘well, isn’t that special.’ Paul Simon’s ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’ played on my Ipod the other day and I started saying ‘I’m dressed like a turkey’ and flapping my arms up and down. Sadly, no one remembered this sketch and the whole thing was made worse by the fact that I was indeed NOT dressed like a Turkey. Also, no one seems to get what I’m saying when I blurt out ‘I guess he smells my dog’ from the Dana Carvey head trauma sketch, or my Frozen Caveman Lawyer references or my Bill Murray lounge singer act.

I also routinely find myself talking like Linda Richmond in ‘Coffee Talk,’ Christopher Walken saying ‘champagne and caviar’ in my favorite recurring sketch ‘The Continental,’ and Wayne Myers and Garth Algar (no way, way). At least once a day, I find myself quoting motivational speaker Matt Foley, played by Chris Farley. I cannot begin to tell you how many people I have accused of ‘living in a van, down by the river.’ There are countless other sketch’s characters and sayings I quote often that I don’t have time to include here (it’s scary how many times in a week one can find himself working the phrase ‘this just goes to prove my theory that Germans love David Hasselhoff’ into a random workplace conversation). And I MIGHT have let the occasional 'Jane (or insert any coworker's name), you ingorant slut' slip out, but only once or twice, by which I mean as often as I can get away with it.

The worst part of my affliction special talent is that I think and believe with all my heart that I am being clever. I actually get great joy from quoting SNL over and over and over again, despite how my coworkers feel about it. Yes, it’s true that they once enjoyed it. Yes, they used to sing along when we went to lunch and I would start singing ‘Lunch Lady Land’ or say ‘come let us consume mass quantities.’ Of course they were familiar with the theme song for ‘the ambiguously gay duo’ every time I’d sing it, which our HR will no longer allow me to do. And they all knew what I meant when I said that I just met a ‘Pat’ because I was slightly unsure of the person’s gender. Those days are over now. These days, it just feels like I’m that freak in the corner cubicle who keeps unnecessarily quoting from Saturday Night Live. Wow, that description was hauntingly accurate...

It’s ok though, I still manage to entertain myself and keep my spirits high and isn’t that what’s important here. After all, I'm Good Enough, I'm Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me. See, I can’t stop doing it…

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Reasons I’m An Idiot, Numbers 303-310 (Formerly Known As ‘Things I Learned This Week’)

* My friend at work has helped me name my autobiography, you know, should a reason ever actually arrive for me to write it. The name is inspired by my heart issues and will be called The Angina Monologues (even though saying the word ‘Angina’ makes me nervous and blush a little). The title may be changed if we decide to use The Angina Monologues as the sequel for our never quite fully realized musical, ‘Nylons in Arizona.’

* When Female Coworker says this is the first day in a month that her phones haven’t been ringing off the hook, isn’t it a law of office etiquette that you have to start crank calling her office immediately? I don’t know why everyone started getting so righteous on me after I did it.

* When Female Coworker tries to exact revenge for the prank mentioned above by telling on you by saying that you ate meat for lunch on Good Friday, isn’t it also office law that you have to respond with a ‘that’s what she said?’ Again, I don’t know why everyone started getting so righteous on me after I did it.

* When George Michael’s ‘Gotta Have Faith’ song starts playing while you and your coworkers are at lunch, resist with all of your might the urges you have to sing along to the chorus. Please trust me on this. Ditto for Barbara Mandrell’s ‘Sleeping Single in a Double Bed,’ no matter how catchy that damn song is! And while we are at it, seriously, what restaurant plays these 2 songs back to back?

* When you have written what you think was a pretty good blog post and then go through almost the whole next day without any comments on it and are starting to be filled with self-doubt, self-loathing and have taken to mumbling, go visit your blog just to make sure that YOU ACTUALLY POSTED IT!

* It’s ok to tell people that you spent the night before watching John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson and a very young and beautiful Angie Dickinson in ‘Rio Bravo.’ However, it is apparently not ok to go around the office singing the theme song to it.

* There is no greater at-work dread than composing a very negative email criticizing a new company policy intended to be sent to your coworker and then telling him that you just sent him that email, only to hear him respond with ‘really, I didn’t get it.’

* It can be quite a self-awakening (and a pretty big hint that you aren’t the hep-cat you believe yourself to be) when you pull up to an attractive girl at a stoplight, look over and see that she is shakin’ and groovin’ to something that obviously has a good beat worthy of all that movement and then realize you are listening to Johnny Horton’s ‘Ballad of New Orleans.’ Now seriously, I have NO idea how that got onto my Ipod.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Repost: Beyond The Cubicle Wall…

I thought this little workplace post would be a good repost for a Friday. Get it? Good? Friday? Oh, why won't The Hallmark Greeting Card Company return my calls. Any who, after rereading this, I cannot for the life of me figure out how I was allowed to have a job after late July, which is when this was written...

By the way, have you ever put a post together, saved it, walked away and then spent most of the next day wondering why no one was leaving comments on your blog? Yep, I forgot to post it...

If I ever decide to write a mock work place soap opera (a Mopera, if you will), today’s post title would be the name of it. I haven’t regaled you with my tales from beyond the cubicle wall in a while and yesterday (back in July, which is kind of like yesterday with just a few more calendar pages in between) was one of those days that reminded me that I need to. The day got off to a bad enough start and I should’ve realized it would be best for me to go home, even though it was my fault.

I must be missing something in my life, dying or succumbing to the effects of my weak heart, but I arrived at the office and promptly told Female Coworker that I was so happy to see her that I could hug her. (Here is where you insert audio of crowds sounding stunned or aghast or maybe even the sound of screeching wheels) Where the heck did that come from? Unfortunately before I could recover, I had said it and at least two other coworkers heard me. What was Female Coworker’s response to this? ‘I don’t like to be touched!’ Really, did anyone who has been reading this blog expect anything different? Realizing what I had done, I went and tried to hide in my cubicle.

I turned my monitor so that no one could see my face and tried to pretend I was on the phone for the next hour or so. All was going well until I got my fingers stuck in the handle of my coffee cup. It turns out that while I might be able to get four fingers through the handle of my ‘Incredibles’ coffee mug, I cannot get them out of said mug. And THIS my dear friends was when Female Coworker felt it was necessary to come over and speak to me about my earlier hugging utterance. She walks into my cube in all her ‘I’ll kick your arseyness’ while I am trying to pull my half empty coffee mug off of my left hand. She noticed, rolled her eyes, looked down and asked me ‘what the #$#^$#^% are you doing,’ to which I replied with sunken shoulders and downcast head ‘uh, my hand is stuck in my coffee mug.’ She countered with ‘what did you do idiot, glue it?’ You can imagine the left coast rattling laugh that ensued when I admitted that I had put too many fingers through the handle…

Yes, that is the point when I should have clutched my chest and used my physical disappointments as an excuse to go home. I of course did not. This was only somewhat directly related to the fact that I had a staff meeting to attend. Our staff meetings are always interesting. Mostly this is because of Mr. Socially Oblivious who really picks staff meetings to rise to the occasion. He likes to repeat what other people have said just mere seconds after they say it as if it is his own grand idea. Let’s just say I have a great boss who chooses to pretend that Mr. Socially Oblivious is in fact the architect of the great idea. Then there’s his well, ‘habit.’ He likes to bite his fingernails throughout our meetings. Ok, MAYBE I could handle that, but it’s the fact that he spits them out and you can hear them ping off the blinds. Dear readers, I AM NOT making this up! It’s disgusting and I have more than once been in the middle of speaking when he does this and it causes me to draw a blank and forget what I was going to say, which makes everyone think there is something wrong with me and not Mr. Spitting For Distance.

Then came lunch. Female Coworker, Mr. Lay Low and myself all went out together. You can imagine our surprise when we ended up at the same Hawaiian BBQ joint (aloha, mahalo, sorry it just felt so appropriate) as Boss Man, New Guy, Mr. Socially Oblivious and one of our clients. We sat at the far opposite end of the restaurant and made faces at Boss Man while he was busy conducting his lunch meeting. It was evident he had no desire to be at this meeting and we all thoroughly enjoyed watching him try not to laugh. When Female Coworker took a call on her cell phone, she immediately slipped into her ‘need to yell’ voice, which many cell phone users seem to suffer from. Twice I reminded her to use her ‘inside’ voice but to no avail. When she finally got off the phone Mr. Lay Low and I began yelling to explain to her how loud she is on the phone and everyone in the restaurant turned to watch us. Now it was at this point for some reason that the owner of the restaurant decided to walk by our table. We nodded and smiled in a scene eerily reminiscent of the Cantina scene in Star Wars where the Storm Troopers walk past Han’s table after he shot Greedo. (Author’s mental note: I truly cannot I believe I just successfully made that analogy…). I spent the rest of lunch asking aloud how in the world Mr. Socially Oblivious could be hungry after snacking (on his fingers) throughout our staff meeting all morning!

Before I wrap this up, I need to address a concern. It has occurred to me that some bloggers (well, at least one that I am aware of) may be feeling some degree of sympathy for Female Coworker because it appears that she is the victim of our countless pranks. Let me caution you that Female Coworker is only to be feared, never sympathized with. Let’s put it this way, she gets a client on the phone and you can feel and smell the fear emanating from the phone line or cell tower. Instead of saying good morning to her clients, she greets them with a warm ‘why the hell do you keep screwing up?’ Then there was the time when all we heard her say on the phone was 'it's not morning anymore, you should have said good afternoon!' We ALL fear her. Though it must be added that since I made my hugging remark, I am in the most fear.

Just to save face, I turned some of the staples upside down in her stapler. Sadly, I think she heard me giggling when she screamed ‘who the hell messed with my %$%$%^$&’in stapler!!!!!!’ Yeah, I’m hoping to make it through today. If I don’t, all of you are free to take one of my PEZ dispensers as a memento…

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Working 9 To 5. If I Have To. (yeah, it's a repost)

Maybe it’s the dawning of spring and much warmer weather or it could just be the way my boss looked at me when I left the office (45 minutes early) this evening, but I have found myself thinking about other career paths on occasion lately. I should say that on occasion means when I am awake, or just breathing, really. It’s not that I hate my job, but the walls of my cubicle do feel like they are closing in on me tighter than the trash compactor in Star Wars. As a result, I’ve been watching people around me more closely to hopefully get alternative career choices. Well not alternative as in bio-fuel maker or exotic animal manure composting…not that I have anything against anyone currently doing that. In fact, do you have flyers and handouts I can take with me?

While out walking this morning, I passed a pool guy getting his truck ready for a day of cleaning other people’s pools. I don’t know if it was the exhaust of the two 18-wheelers that passed me at that moment or what, but I started daydreaming about going to work as a pool boy, guy, whatever. No, it wasn’t in the adult pool boy meets sexy pool owner bow-chicka-bow-bow way, although…well, never mind. It was more like how envious I was that he was going to spend the rest of the day doing two of my favorite things, while getting paid for it. Yes, could you imagine a more laid back day than driving from pool to pool and inhaling chlorine fumes all day? Sure, it would be a pay cut for me, but I’d be outside and near the water and the medical and insurance must be good if you drive, handle chemical agents and work near water all day, right? And if one of my customers (unless it’s clients) had a nice outdoor BBQ island, well that would just be the cocoa butter icing on the cake!

Aside from a few chemicals and those cheesy straps to hang my sunglasses around my neck, I’ve got all the equipment to begin tomorrow. I’ve got the truck, I’ve got the shorts and I bet my parents would even let me move back in with them. Folks, I’m thinking pool boy cleaner dude might be the next rung on my career ladder. Unless I find something better…

…Like professional charity pledge sponsored walker. I know it’s a long title, but CEO is such a short title and you have to wear professional business attire all the time instead of athletic clothes and walking shoes. Besides, the income potential is only limited by my ability to get people to pledge money for each mile I walk. Yes, it sounds like something Creed would do on The Office, but I’m proud to say I’ve always had a little entrepreneurial spirit in me. It’s so simple really, perhaps even simpler than showing up to the office each day and essentially getting paid to blog. What, did I say that? I know nothing about such sneaky office antics. Surely you all know me well enough to understand that I work my rear off on real serious stuff from the time I get to the office until the time they kick me out. You do believe me, right? SERIOUSLY, BELIEVE ME NOW!!! Ok, thanks.

So here’s my plan. I get dressed up (that means jeans that aren’t faded and a polo shirt that makes my neck itch) and go house to house with a pamphlet about a charity or cause so I can ask for $1.00 per each mile that I walk. If I can do it without killing myself, I’ll cover fifty miles and make fifty dollars per person that sponsored me. Wait, wait, wait. Let’s make that twenty-five miles. Twenty-five dollars per person isn’t bad, I’ll just sign up more people to sponsor me. OK, you know what, let’s just make it ten miles and I’ll hit up friends and relatives too.

Except for the mind numbing guilt I will feel because of my Catholic upbringing and the whole ‘it might be considered illegal’ part, it’s a brilliant strategy. I can do a different charity every day and after the tax deducts, I should be sitting pretty, in a house, on a hill, with a view, ooh, and a pool. The best part is, I’ll still have all the chemicals and equipment to clean the pool myself.

So, have I told you about the plight of the Spotted Yellow Tipped Duck? Well, I’m doing this walk you see…

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What A Taxing Letter

Well, it finally came. I finally got mine. I was really starting to worry. It was that same kind of worry one gets during those split seconds as you begin to open an email from your boss titled ‘Report Overdue’ but it hasn’t loaded and you can’t read the words yet although you begin to vaguely remember a report you think you were probably supposed to have done, but didn’t. Actually, I guess that’s more of a panic than a worry. When the IRS and the government spends over $100 million just to mail a letter that says a tax rebate is coming, well, I don’t want to miss it.

Just to be clear though, I’m not talking about missing the tax rebate action; I’m talking about missing the extremely costly letter. And now my worries are finally over because I have the letter and I got to read it and I no longer feel left out when all my coworkers say things like ‘well, what did you do wrong, I received mine’ and ‘can’t you just stop blogging and get a little work done like the rest of us.’ Ok, while that last one is said to me often in the office, I guess it really isn’t pertinent to this story.

After looking over the $100 million letter, I have to say that I’m a little disappointed. Does anyone remember the $10 million dollar man? Think about everything he could do and he only cost $10 million, not $100 million like this letter. As far as mass mailings go, it was pretty bland. There were no big bold words, no clip art of dollars or dollar signs, no calls to action, no pictures of families happily holding their rebates, no celebrity spokespeope (I’m thinking Steve Carell or Charro. She’s still around, right?) and not even a free subscription to IRS Weekly or IRS Illustrated.

If they let me spend $100 million on a mass mailing, I can guarantee it would be one you’d remember! It would be glossy, it would have big words, there would be lots of color and probably a few coupons for things like a free chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A or toothpaste at Target, or aspirin. Yes, aspirin is pretty common in ads and stuff. And what would a pretty mailer be without a piece to detach, fill out and send back in? Not much of a mailer, if you ask me. If the IRS is going to spend so much to mail you something, why not use that mailed piece to help improve their reputation with us, the tax payer, who would rather become a field tester tasked with finding out whether buffalo or bull manure had the better consistency or pin the tail on a real donkey’s ass (is donkey and ass in the same sentence too redundant??) than deal with the IRS. In case you are wondering, yes, that last sentence probably just earned me a lovely tax audit***. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Now I know that the real reason the letter was sent to us was so the government and current administration could get a little good press and get credit for doing something good, especially in an election year. When it’s put in those terms, I really can’t complain. Who doesn’t like a pat on the back when you do something right. After all, I do the same thing. On those few occasions I get to work on time (well, within 20 minutes either way. OK, I’ll be honest - within 20 minutes, give or take an additional 20, passed when I should arrive), I essentially do the same thing that the IRS does. I sit at my desk, play my music very loudly so everyone can hear it, actually take the time to greet my boss and send emails to everyone within the company so that they can see the time stamp on my email and know that I got to work on time. Except maybe the government is self-patting here (which I believe may still be illegal in a few southern states).

But over $100 million to get a little positive attention? I can’t even begin to fathom how much that is. Well ok, smart asses, I know it’s $100 million, but I can’t wrap my mind around the idea of having anywhere near that type of coinage. Perhaps if someone could break that down for me in terms of something I can understand like tonnage in cheese or in relation to what Rachael Ray must make in a year…

*** Though I did make a few disparaging remarks about the IRS, I should take the time to clarify that I love the IRS. You, IRS, are my favorite government entity. I heart you even more than the American Battle Monuments Commission or the greatest government entity of all time, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.***

Monday, March 17, 2008

Everyone Is Looking For A Bullet Come Monday

Does anyone else find it odd that random thoughts seem to occur as if on a schedule? I fear that it might take the randomocity out of it. Whatever the answer is, I have some random thoughts to share, just as I do every week, which might not make them as random as I’d like to believe they are. And the answer is yes, I do like to hear myself type…

* To everyone who I kept saying ‘have a great Monday’ to since Sunday night, I am terribly sorry. I’m not usually such a oxymoron!

* It’s a sobering thought when the city puts up those radar screens that show how fast you are driving on your daily walking route and a car zooms past doing 40 and no matter how fast you run, you can’t even make the thing detect you…

* It’s a true sign that you are getting older when you no longer see the radar detectors I mentioned above as a way to gauge how fast you can make your car go. In high school and college, we saw these radars as a challenge instead of the threats that we see them as today. *Sigh*

* Need a few extra bucks? Just woo Sir Paul McCartney so that he falls for you without signing a pre-nup, dance with a professional for a few weeks in front of millions watching at home and then ask for a divorce. The artificial leg is optional, of course.

* Do you think that dressing like Indiana Jones will come back into vogue when the new movie comes out? There are times when having a whip would give me some much needed credibility around the office.

* According to my coworkers, wearing yellow and blue DOES NOT make green on St. Patrick’s Day. Apparently this holds true even when I ask them to squint real hard while looking at me.

* I recommend not going for your daily walks with the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack loaded onto your Ipod or MP3 player. When ‘Staying Alive’ comes on, it’s essentially impossible not to walk without doing the Travolta strut from the movie. And that just makes you look like a big idiot, especially when you pretend to be wearing bell bottoms and holding paint cans in both hands, unless of course you are able to hear that song and NOT walk like that. If that’s the case though, you have far better self-control than I do, but somehow I suspect you already figured that much out.

* I just saw that some dude who used to blog about the Food Network just got his own webcast show about the Food Network. Wait a finger lickin’ minute here, I don’t remember any auditions for this! Lots of us blog about the Food Network and we weren’t offered this great opportunity! We too write about the great food, the great hosts (hi, Giada) and the great shows just like he must have done. Oh wait, I think I just figured out why: we don’t write NICE things about Rachael Ray. Ok then Food Network, I am officially declaring today that I am changing my allegiance and becoming a Rachael Ray fan (sorry Chefmom, I know this will both surprise and upset you greatly, but the chance of getting a Food Network webcast doesn’t come along every day). Yum-o, EVOO, spunky, spunky, spunky, you CAN cook these meals in 30 minutes…See, I’ve converted! Now please email me at with my webscast contract. Gee, thanks!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

That’s One Clean Memo (Again)

Ok, I have rescheduled Q & A Monday to another day to be determined later so that you can all put on some green and celebrate St. Patrick's day. Since they say that yellow and blue make green, I am wearing blue pants and a yellow shirt to work.

I’ve heard of someone wanting to wash their hands of a particular office memo or corporate directive, but I’ve never heard of a company issuing a memo or interoffice directive about hand washing. When I received it in our staff meeting, I thought to myself, boy does my employer care about me. Then I realized it was probably more motivated by my employer wanting to cut down on having to pay sick time when an airborne illness levels their office staff. That made me bitter, resentful and disappointed so I decided it was time to blog about it. Actually, the moment I saw an office handout titled ‘STOP THE SPREAD OF GERMS,’ I knew I’d miraculously found material to write about just when my internal well of inspiration appeared to have run dry.

It’s really a very helpful document and I doubt I will ever become ill again if I follow the simple steps that are outlined within it. I knew about washing my hands before eating and after using the ‘restroom’ (which is usually anything but restful by the way). I didn’t realize however that I should also wash my hands when I am around someone who looks dirty. Who would have thought of that? Heck, that just saved three sick days right there!

Until yesterday’s memo, I thought I knew how to wash my hands. You put your hands together, lather, rinse, repeat, dry, buff, shine, smile, etc. Apparently, for all the years I’ve been alive, I have been neglecting the most important issue: washing time. Because my company cares so much about me, I can now tell you how long you should wash your hands. It’s a concrete method that’s sure to keep you clean without that annoying and ugly pruning of your fingers. Since it supposedly takes 20 seconds for soap and scrubbing to dislodge and remove stubborn germs (and yes, I am quoting verbatim), sing “Happy Birthday” all the way through twice while washing. As you are finishing the last few bars of the song, you can do so in quiet confidence that you are the proud owner of the cleanest hands in the universe! And no, I am not quoting that last sentence verbatim; it’s just how I feel now after washing my hands to the birthday song. Here’s a tip though: hum quietly rather than sing. I don’t know what it’s like in the woman’s restroom where you wash up, but in the men’s room, I’m getting some pretty funny looks singing “Happy Birthday to You” while washing my hands. I can tell you that I switched the song to “Free Bird” and I didn’t get as many looks. In fact, a couple of the guys joined in. For the fun of it, I tried singing Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” and I was asked to leave.

Our company also suggests using a paper towel to turn off the faucet, but the joke’s on them. What they didn’t think of is that you are not using a paper towel to get a paper towel to turn off the faucet, so you have to wash your hands again and could end up in an endless paper towel/hand washing cycle for the rest of your life! Perhaps the wisest nugget of all though was that if I don’t have tissues to blow my nose on or to cover my mouth and nose with when I sneeze or cough, I should use my upper sleeve. It makes me look at rubbing elbows with upper management in a whole new light! I wonder if accounting will approve the increased amounts of my expense reports for all the dry cleaning of upper sleeves that will start to appear.

I don’t know who they are paying in my company to develop this stuff, but it has got to be the best job here (and possibly greatest squandering of payroll too). Hopefully this is just the first in a series of helpful safety bulletins. I would like to see them cover safe telephone use (like how to avoid accidentally dragging half the items off your desk with the phone cord or cleaning the mouthpiece at least once a year) and proper phone etiquette (especially how to use the mute, drop and transfer features). Also, they should initiate a mouse euthanasia program (oh sorry, I left out the word computer, as in computer mouse euthanasia). Computer keyboards and computer mice have to be the dirtiest and biggest germ spreading devices I have ever seen. Especially when you’ve got temps coming in and out working in different offices every day. I fear temps are germs’ equivalent of communist spies, but that’s a different health story.

I just feel warm all over knowing that my employer cares so much about me to pay people to develop these safety guides, pay for the printing of the documents and using company time to have a staff meeting to address these issues. Or maybe I feel warm all over because I only sang one verse of ‘Happy Birthday’ while washing my hands before going to lunch today and am now coming down with the Bird Flu. Please don’t tell my caring employer (who of course won’t be so caring if they ever read any of this). Cough, cough…

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Want To Become A Legend? Paint A Dome!

On this day in 1512 (assuming of course that today is November 1st, which it is NOT, but which it WAS when I originally wrote this), Michelangelo’s artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome was unveiled to the public. Other than “ouch, it hurts thy neck to look straight up at thine painting,” the thing most overheard that day was “woweth, how’deth he doeth thateth and is thee not wearing any pants in thy painting where thee toucheth God?”

There are many facts about the frescoes (one of my favorite drinks, by the way) that adorn the Chapel’s ceiling which most people probably aren’t aware of. The real facts concerning the creation of the paintings have been kept from us for almost 500 years.

My research is a little sketchy, but I wanted to share the history I’ve uncovered with you all. What most folks don’t know is that Michelangelo (who preferred to go by Mikey, possibly because it is easier to type than Michelangelo) wasn’t as much invited by the Vatican to paint the ceiling as he was told to paint the ceiling. It turns out that Mikey had been chasing this real hot chick around Rome named Mona. Mona (or Ms. Lisa if you're nasty) snubbed Mikey and chose to court this cat named Leonardo da Vinci (yes, Lenny D for short). Lenny got to paint her, which broke Mikey’s heart. To deal with his grief, Mikey took to tagging all public walls in and around Rome. Instead of facing inquisition, (nobody expects the Spanish inquisition, especially when in Rome, which is where you are supposed to do as the Romans do and not the Spanish, or the Pythons) Mikey accepted several hundred hours of community service by putting his artistic prowess to good use. His community service was being forced to look upwards for several years while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. A few years earlier, all of the white puffy and powdery acoustic ceiling had been removed from the Chapel and it looked pretty bad, so the timing couldn’t have been better.

By painting the ceiling, not only did Mikey avoid jail time, he was also able to prove to his true unrequited love Mona that he too was a great artist. As Michelangelo was quoted as saying late in his life, “comeuppance is sweeter to thee than true love lost, especially when it is accomplished with thine own brush. Ha Ha He He Ho Ho!”

Anyone who has ever bought paint at Home Depot on the weekend with thoughts of repainting the family room quickly can attest to what a phenomenal achievement Mikey’s painting of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling really was. Heck, I can’t even paint around a light switch or door jam! Of course later in his life, Michelangelo was plagued by debilitating shoulder and neck pain and hundreds of people visiting the Sistine Chapel have been injured by walking into pews or other churchly objects while walking through the Chapel looking straight up. Though no one has sued yet. I believe this is because it's all religousy and stuff.

Sadly, on this anniversary of such an artistic masterpiece comes talk of a major change to the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. A Chapel official was quoted as saying, “You know, change is a good thing and since our patrons have been viewing the same thing for almost 500 years, we figure it’s time for something different to adorn our beloved ceiling. The fame of the Sistine Chapel has made it one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations but we are still seeing a decline in the amount of financial offerings to our church. Therefore we are taking advantage of the most popular ceiling ever, which is prime advertising space by the way, and replacing Michelangelo’s work with a large stadium-type TV screen and LCD text ribbon, similar to the one in New York's Times Square,” he added.

The new screen will be called Sistine-Vision and church officials hope it will raise millions per year in ad revenue. Major international corporations like Coca-Cola, Nike and McDonalds are already considering purchasing ad space. Paint chips of Michelangelo’s work will be saved and auctioned off on E-Bay and by Sotheby’s auction house to fund Sistine-Vision’s construction. Plans are to have construction completed by 2009. Just think that 500 years from now we’ll be celebrating the anniversary of the unveiling of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling all over again. There’s that circle of life thing at work again! And yes, in case you were wondering, they are going to put in a Starbucks too.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Talk About Getting Tanked

I just finished reading a Reuters new story that makes me sad…that I can’t make up stuff this good. It’s like the ultimate Liz Lemon, only it was committed by the Russian Military. Apparently, one of their tanks ‘accidentally’ crashed into a house after the tank’s crew stopped at a local liquor store to buy more, you guessed it, vodka. The story says that the villager got film of a drunken tank driver trying to climb back into his tank holding 2 bottles of Vodka. Um, tell me again why we endured almost a half-century long cold war with these guys. In the ultimate case of a military cover up, the Russians said that the tank must have not been operating correctly and that it had fallen behind the group it was with on an exercise. Which begs the thought that if you are built like a tank, you SHOULD be exercising. OK, go ahead and let out that collective groan…I swear I would give something important like my left pinky finger to be able to dream up a story this good.

Seriously though, I guess the Red Army felt the mechanical failure statement was better than their original one, which was that the tank ‘slipped on ice.’ See, that’s the problem with living in Southern California because we don’t get to use the ‘slipped on the ice’ excuse. We do get to use the ‘I lost it in the sun excuse,’ but I guess that doesn’t always apply. I can’t really tell my boss that I lost the report due today in the sun (well I could, but my stellar credibility would fall faster than a NY governor caught in a high priced hooker scandal, theoretically of course), but I could say I slipped on the ice, got injured and was not able to type my report. So, I guess ice beats sun, assuming of course you live in a rock, papers, scissors type of world.

You have to admit that the image of a drunken tank commander wiping out the corner of a villager’s house does not quite create the cold war scare of the old days. See, if this happened in the US, our military would admit what happened, a congressional inquiry would be started to investigate why military vehicles are being used for beer runs and why the American military is buying Russian vodka instead of Tennessee whiskey or Kentucky bourbon.

CNN and C-Span would devote 24/7 coverage to it and call it something snappy like ‘tank-gate’ or ‘Liquor, In The Armed Forces’ (even though neither one of those are snappy, but after 10 minutes, I gave up and went with the only thing I could come up with) and they’d have a neat little logo already created. Political cartoonists would draw crashed military vehicles with famous drunks like Otis, the town drunk from Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show or well, some other famous drunk whose name I can’t recall right now, stumbling out of the vehicle. Time magazine would place a crashed tank on its cover with the words ‘What Happened?’ on it. People would start wearing t-shirts that say ‘don’t blame me; I’m not a drunken tank commander.’ Late night talk show hosts would make DUI or ‘driving while tanked’ jokes. The entire country would become wrapped up in this story and the talk radio folks would have a heyday.

And then, on about the 5th straight day of ‘tank-gate,’ Paris would get arrested, Lindsey would go clubbing or Britney would leave her house and we’d forget all about it.

***And thanks to all those great bloggers that correctly pointed out that the way I used 'Liz Lemon' was not actually a verb...Boy did I pull a Michael Scott.***

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


Inspired by the recent uh, ‘adventures’ of my blog twin Meleah, I am going to begin working a new verb (or possibly two) into the English language. Since ‘man area’ hasn’t really caught on to describe the male anatomy (as in ‘I just got kicked in the man area’), I am going to try to leave my mark on our language with my new verb. Are you ready? The proposed new verb is ‘Liz Lemon. Verb: to find oneself in an embarrassing situation socially, the act of committing a social faux pas, messing up in public.’

Here, let me use it in a sentence. ‘She pulled a Liz Lemon when she was doing that impersonation of her boss eating like a pig, not realizing that her boss was behind her the entire time.’ Or, ‘Meleah did a big Liz Lemon when she tried to get into someone else’s car thinking it was hers.’ If you have seen 30 Rock, you will understand why I came out with the verb tense of ‘Liz Lemon.’ This is the same character that once realized she was dating her cousin when she went to her date’s apartment only to discover a picture of her own female relative on display there. Of course the act of committing a ‘Liz Lemon’ is a female only verb, just like the ‘a’ versus the ‘o’ in Spanish, like ‘Hola’ and ‘Holo.’ At least, I think that’s how it works in Spanish. You know what I mean: ‘Seniorita’ and ‘Seniorito.’

What is the male version of pulling a Liz Lemon, you ask? Well, it’s a ‘Michael Scott’ as in ‘Michael pulled a Michael Scott at work when he told his female coworker that he could really tell she was losing weight from behind.’ Or, ‘Michael did a Michael Scott when he gave his boss his blog address and then started blogging at work about work.’ In fact, I pulled a Michael Scott again at work today when I told everyone that this job could be done in only 3 hours a day, which is why I can go to Disneyland every night. I pulled a Michael Scott last week when I turned on our little battery operated coffee stirrer BEFORE it was submerged in my coffee and it shot java all over a coworker and his desk. That folks, is the epitome of the Michael Scott and Liz Lemon.

Let’s be honest, we all commit faux pas socially every single day. Have you ever argued a point over zealously, only to find that you had the facts wrong to begin with? That’s a ‘Liz Lemon.’ Did you ever try to pay a lady you know a comment but it comes out all wrong? Yep, you’ve pulled a ‘Michael Scott.’ Ever put something on a female coworker’s greeting card, tell another coworker about it and then they tell you that it’s kind of rude and you get caught trying to change the card before she reads it? Totally a ‘Michael Scott.’ Congratulate someone on being pregnant and then they tell you they aren’t? OOOOOOO, big ‘Liz Lemon’ there.

See, isn’t that much more fun to say than ‘social faux pas’ or ‘socially unacceptable but possibly unavoidable mistake?’ I sure think so. From personal experience, I can most certainly tell you that being called a ‘Liz Lemon’ or ‘Michael Scott’ is much, much better than being called a ‘Jack Ass.’ Really, who wants to just ‘goof up’ when you can romanticize it by calling it a ‘Liz Lemon?’ It just flows so beautifully, kind of like the way that ‘cheesy goodness’ ‘that’s how I roll,’ ‘Obama’ and ‘The Wonderful World of Nothing Worthwhile’ do, don’t you think? Ok, I admit that last one was a little gratuitous. Though there’s nothing wrong with a little self promotion now and then.

I don’t know how much success I’ll actually have trying to cement these new verbs into the American cultural and linguistic psyche, but I am sure going to try. So Merriam and Webster, you can expect a call from me any day now. I’ll be the guy who identifies himself as Henry Kissinger. You can’t turn away Henry Kissinger and since you never know when Henry Kissinger might need to contact you, you’ll be forced to take my call. After all, refusing to take a former Secretary of State’s call because you doubt it’s him is quite the Liz Lemon, you know, if it actually WAS the real Henry Kissinger and all...

****And to continue the Meleah theme, there will be a little article at her site here on Wednesday. You may or may not recognize the author who comitted himself to writing this for her months ago, like in 2007.****

Monday, March 10, 2008

Q & A Monday (Except on the East Coast)

I dodged a bullet earlier today when for about 45 seconds after our lunch break I was Juror #8. Then the defense counsel exercised their right to have me excused. I’ve had a lot of people make excuses for me in my lifetime, but I never thought a lawyer would do it. I’ll never know for sure why I was dismissed, but it might have been due to the fact that one of the defense lawyers walked by us in the hallway as I was doing my George Bush Sr. impersonation. Or it might be related to the fact that I could not stop yawning while sitting in the jury box. I swear I wasn’t bored, I was just trying to see if I could get all the other jurors and prospective jurors to yawn. Whatever the reason, I haven’t been dismissed that quickly since my Senior Prom in High School. But enough about how I spent my day earning $15 from my friends at the Riverside County Courthouse; we’ve got more pressing matters to discuss.

It’s Q & A Monday and I gots me some questions to answer! Just a quick refresher of the rules and we’ll be off and running. OK, the rules are as follows: if you have stopped by to read this, you must leave a comment. Also, don’t ever refer to my answers as fact. I know they are fact and you know they are fact, but sometimes other people who are exposed to what I have to say tend not to be as willing to understand my logic. Yes, I’m talking to you HR Department where I work.

First up this week is Chefmom who asks: ‘What is the one deep fried food you could never live without? Or rather..What is your favorite deep fried food?’
I would rush to judgment and say fried cheese sticks, but in all fairness, I have yet to try deep fried lobster tail or deep fried Almond Joys. So, I’d better wait to answer until I have fully tested all of my deep fried possibilities. I am trying to figure out a way to produce deep fried coffee, but need a better binding agent…

Natalie asked a cheesy question. Wait, that might sound a bit rude. She asked a question about cheese. Her question was: ‘Why is it that when mold grows on most food we throw it out but when mold grows on cheese it becomes desirable and delicious?’
Wait, mold on foods other than cheese is a bad thing? Well hot damn, that explains why I keep getting those searing stomach pains after eating. Whew, I thought I had an ulcer or something. Seriously, I think the mold in cheese is a far superior strain of mold that helps the cheese age quickly because it is so superior. Its cousins, weaker mold, just breaks down and spoils food rather than ages it. Wow, where did that come from?

Frigga continued the cheesy goodness and asked: ‘What is your FAVORITE type of cheese?’
I would have to say whatever is in my fridge when I open it craving cheese. After all, when you really love something, you aren’t particular and don’t play favorites. But if I had to be stranded on a desert island with only one type of cheese, it would be Cheddar. I seriously don’t know how Gilligan and the other castaways did it. They NEVER mentioned cheese while stranded on that island…

Patti ALSO had a question about cheese. Gheesh, am I that one dimensional that all I do is make people want to ask me about cheese? No, don’t answer that. I just went back and read yesterday’s Cheese Sunday post. I guess I had it coming. Any hoo, Patti asked: ‘If beef jerky is like cheese to you, what, pray tell, is cheese like?’
Simply put, cheese is the manna from heaven. It’s other people’s cake…or liquor, but you can’t melt cake or liquor and make it all gooey and yummy-er, so it should show you just how ‘grate’ cheese is. And yes, I promise to stop using ‘grate’ instead of ‘great’ when mentioning cheese from now on. I also think I might give up cheese for Lent. Yes, I know there is only a week and a half of Lent left but that’s the only way I’ll get through a sacrifice like that.

Selma (who let me know about the grate great Cheese Sunday in Macedonia) has not one, but an impressive two questions this week. They are:
1. Has anyone ever spread a rumour about you?
Yes, some fool once called me a student with a lot of potential. That rumor dogged me all throughout high school. Teachers can be so cruel.
2. What's your favourite tongue twister?
It is: ‘I like going to work in my drab cubicle all day long, ever single day, over and over again.’ A sentence that is difficult to say is the sign of a good tongue twister, right?

Odat had a question of a scientific nature. She asked me: ‘Do you think there really is a man in the moon?’
Well, I don’t think so. Let’s face it; if there was a man in the moon, NASA most certainly would have detected him making a dirty joke or winking creepily at some pretty dame by now. Based on that lack of hard evidence, I am going to say there is definitely no man in the moon.

Well, that concludes another installment of Q & A Monday. Now if you’ll excuse me, for some reason I have an overwhelming urge to go eat cheese. I’m thinking Colby Jack. Wow, is that not a grate great name for a boy? I got dibs!!!!!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Special Edition Sunday Post

I don’t think I’ve written a NEW Sunday post since 2006, but a few events this Sunday make me just want to write from the top of the highest mountain. Ok, that may have been a little over the top, sorry. At any rate, this is the most special of Sundays. Why am I all a-twitter, you wonder? Well, it’s one of my 2 favorite ‘clock’ times of the year. Maybe I should have said ‘clock’ days instead of ‘clock’ times. It is time to Spring forward, which means more sun and longer days, but more about that later. The other reason that today is a great Sunday (and I owe Selma greatly for notifying me of this) is that it is Cheese Sunday in Macedonia. Yep, an actual cheese day. Yes, a day about cheese. Let me state it again to get the full effect here. Cheese Sunday. Sunday/cheese.

And if that all isn’t enough, I JUST found out while writing this that my niece ‘KFC’ was born moments ago at a healthy 5 pounds 9 ounces. Welcome to the world little Colonel. I can’t wait to meet you! Although something tells me that years from now I’ll be referred to as the ‘weird’ Uncle…

Ok, back to the writing. I realize that the natural tendency is to get a little cranky about Springing Forward because we all lose an hour of sleep. But really, that’s just one hour on one night. What we gain is much more important, though if you want to wait a day or so to accept that fact, I can forgive you. We gain sunlight later into the night. I know this was started for farmers to get more time in the fields and for vampire deterrence and all, but I personally have my own ways to utilize more daylight each day.

Daylight Savings time means I can now get home from the office and not trip over a toy in the front walkway and actually be able to see the newest gopher hole in the yard without having to wait until morning. It means I can take evening walks with Lucy and Ethel as they ask me life’s most pointed questions (like why is some gravy brown and other gravy white, to which I answer: ‘does it matter? If they all taste this good; they can make my gravy purple because it’s not the color of the gravy that matters, it’s how good it tastes’) and then challenge my answers as if they were on a debate team. It means that it will eventually get warmer so that I don’t have to take 45 minutes to blow dry their hair (that’s 45 minutes PER HEAD, mind you) after bath time (and for the record, I am convinced beyond any doubt that there is no such thing as too strong of a hair dryer).

It means I can enjoy BBQ’ing later into the evening without having to get beyond dangerously close to examine the doneness of the meat (by the way, can contacts melt to your eye balls, because I’m really starting to worry). It also means being able to immediately find the basketball now after Lucy and Ethel don’t catch it and it rolls down the driveway and down our disturbingly steep street while shooting hoops in the driveway after dinner instead of having to stop the truck and pick the ball up when I’m driving down the street and spot it on the way to work the next morning. Lastly, I think the longer day now means that you could start reading a sentence like the one I just wrote about basketball at 5PM and actually have it finished before the sun goes down. Seriously, would a period in there somewhere have killed me? So get out the basketball hoop, check the quality of the dog’s leash, load up on the charcoal and Spring those clocks forward! Summertime can’t be too far away now.

Then there is the whole Macedonia Cheese Sunday thing. Uh, sign me up to be a Macedonian or Macedone or Macedoniaite or whatever they like to me called, because Cheese Sunday is definitely for me. Apparently in the Republic of Macedonia, the last 2 Sundays leading up to Lent are special. First comes Meat Sunday, then comes Cheese Sunday and then comes a baby in a baby carriage. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Other than the Daytona 500 Sunday and the Indy 500 Sunday, can you name a better pair of Sundays? Two Sundays in a row devoted to meat and cheese. I mean I’m a patriotic American and have pride in the good ole U.S. of A, but really, all we can boast about is having Superbowl Sunday. Sure, we can eat meats and cheeses on that day, but we don’t devote the day to meat or to cheese. I gotta be honest and tell you that the Republic of Macedonia is looking pretty good. Yeah they may only have a population of 2 million and probably don’t auto race or park their cars on cinder blocks in the front yard or have 5 different Rachael Ray shows, but they are a special group of people despite all of that.

For today, I am going to relish being a new Uncle who can stay outside later studying by sunlight to take my Republic of Macedonia citizenship test. Cheese Sunday, don’t it smell great? Or when it’s cheese, would it be better to say grate?

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Saturday Evening Post

Well, since Chefmom only tagged me with this about 3 months ago, I figured I had better get around to writing it. I don't know if there is a universal law against not responding to being tagged with one of these, but I do not want to be the person to find out. So, let's get ready to meme!!! Wait, do I have to pay Michael Buffer $10.80 now for using his line? Great. Well, let me try it this way: Let us prepare to meme!! Yeah, that's uniquely different. Perhaps I can trademark it...

The Getting To Know Me Meme...

1. What is your occupation?
It involves a desk, a drab-colored cubicle and me crying a lot. I think they pay me for it every 2 weeks.

2. What color are your socks right now?
No socks, just bare feet. It is So Cal ya know.

3. What are you listening to right now?
I'm not sure if the answer to this is supposed to be 'The Kingston Trio' or Lucy and Ethel whining about me not giving them enough breakfast, so take your pick.

4. What was the last thing that you ate?
A homemade quesadilla with Colby-Jack cheese and a little sour cream on top. Go figure, right?

5. Can you drive a stick shift?
That's what she said. But for the record, yes. They are much more fun than those cheaty automatics that do all the work for you.

6. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Some generic color made by some generic company like 'Rayola' sold at the 99 cent store.

7. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
That dude from Homeland Security that keeps calling me. Apparently they found my blog and I have some 'splaining to do.

8. Do you like the person who sent this to you?
Definitely -- and that was before I got the way cool recipes from her!

9. Favorite drink?
Mtn. Dew. Egg Nog is a close 2nd. Unfortunately they don't mix well though...

10. What is your favorite sport to watch?
NASCAR. I know what you are thinking, so stop it. It REALLY IS a sport.

11. Have you ever dyed your hair?
No, I don't believe in murder.

12. Pets?
My golden retriever Mabel. A man's best friend indeed, except when she craps in my backyard, which is pretty frequently. I really hate the times that she lays there and watches me pick up her dog bombs and then when I am done, she gets up and lays another one. I really believe she thinks it's a game.

13. Favorite food?
Italian, burgers, lobster, Mexican, Chinese, BBQ. And yes, cheese. It goes great with anything, including other cheeses.

14. Last movie you watched?
Chicken Little. An under-appreciated classic. It makes me giggle like a 12 year old school girl.

15. Favorite Day of the year?
Christmas is nice, the 4th of July is fun, but those 9 days circled on my office calendar where they actually pay me not to come in are pretty sweet. As are those sick days I get. Oh wait, I probably shouldn't mention that.

16. What do you do to vent anger?
Oh, I don't get angry. I blog.

17. What was your favorite toy as a child?
Probably my Star Wars toys or my Atari. Although I used to spend a lot of time sniffing Play-Doh, too.

18. What is your favorite, fall or spring?
Well, if I liked them both equally, then I would call it Falling. However, I'm more torn between Winter and Summer. I guess that would be Wummer?

19. Hugs or kisses?

20. What kind of pie?
Key Lime. Always Key Lime. Unless you have a different flavor. I'd take that too.

21. Do you want your friends to email you back?
Me likes the email

22. Who is most likely to respond?
Whoever I beg the most

23. Who is least likely to respond?
Either Prince Charles or former President Jimmy Carter. Believe me, I've tried before.

24. Living arrangements?
The family and my Mabel.

25. When was the last time you cried?
I'm pretty sure it was when I arrived at work yesterday.

26. What is on the floor of your closet?
My boots, my sandals and a Christmas tie that fell off my tie rack. I figure there is no hurry with that one since I've got a few months until I need it.

27. Who is the friend you have had the longest that you are tagging?
Oh, I don't tag. That can be considered assualt according to the California Penal Code. Ha, penal, that's what she said.

28. The friend you have known the shortest amount of time that you are tagging?
Please see #27 above.

29. Favorite smell?
I know coconut is popular and I could score some points by mentioning it, but I really gotta say smoking meat.

30. What inspires you?
Food. Oh wait, that might be the answer to what motivates me, but since I don't see any food, I see no reason to take the time to answer this question again. Sorry.

31. What are you afraid of?
Writer's block and things that go bump in the middle of the day. I ran out of charcoal last weekend and that freaked the heck out of me too.

32. Plain, cheese or spicy hamburgers?
Cheese burger, cheese burger, cheese burger, cheese burger...

33. Favorite car?
The #88 Mountain Dew/Amp Energy Chevy Impala piloted by one Dale Earnhardt, Jr.

34. Favorite cat breed?
The ones that are not in my home. That would be all of them. Although I must say that I wish I could get Mabel to 'relieve' herself in a small box filled with dusty sand.

35. Number of keys on your key ring?
2: my truck and my home.

36. How many years at your current job?
2 many. Actually, it would be more like 4 too long...
Oh wait, that's what she said again.

37. Favorite day of the week?
Those weekend ones.

38. How many provinces have you lived in?
What the hell is a province? I know of a Providence in R.I., but I have yet to go there.

39. How many countries have you been to?
Wow, this is embarassing...none. But I do really, really hope to get to Tennessee some day. Oh wait, I have been to Hawaii (hah, they hate when you do that since they are a state and all. Even though they were one of the last to join. Gheesh).

Have a great weekend!!!!! By the way, since I haven't done a 'Things I Learned This Week' in many a Saturday, let me leave you with this tip: don't drink 3 cups of coffee before entering a courtroom to determine which of the 80 people in the room are going to be on the jury. Apparently squirming really gets the bailiff's attention. And I don't mean the good type of attention like if I was wearing a short skirt. Wait, that didn't come out right...

Thursday, March 06, 2008

It’s Juroriffic

Or is it Jurortastic? Jurorlicious, perhaps? Whatever you call it, I came one-step closer Thursday to becoming a full-fledged juror as opposed to a juror-elect. That is when I had my first day of jury duty. In the wonderful county in which I currently reside, you have to call in each night for a week until you finally get to Thursday night and hear the glorious recording tell you that by merely calling in for the past 5 nights that you have fulfilled your annual jury duty service. As glorious as that is, they have yet to send me the sticker commemorating by jury fulfillment. Or sucker. Yes, I wouldn’t mind a jury fulfillment sucker. Preferably, grape flavored, though I’d settle for watermelon if that was a deal breaker. In my lovely county, if you make it to Wednesday night without having to report for jury duty, you are usually home free.

So, you can imagine my horror delight surprise when I was told that I did indeed have to report in person this year. It made me wonder what I had done wrong. My phone calls have always been good enough before. Why is it now that they aren’t good enough to fulfill my jury requirement? Did I not enunciate clearly enough into the automated system? Did I punch the digits on my cordless phone too hard, thereby giving off a violent air? Maybe the phone system heard me yell ‘woo-hoo’ Tuesday night after I called and was told I didn’t need to come in on Wednesday.

Whatever I did to offend the phone system, it was with a great deal of trepidation that I entered our county courthouse Thursday. Well, I mean as much trepidation as one can have when you are skipping along the sidewalk celebrating not having to go into work. I wondered if I was a marked man for whatever I did to the phone system and sat down to take my place among the 300 other people to wait for the county’s revenge like we were heads of cattle in the stockyards. I will say though that the smell was slightly better, although I swear I could hear somebody mooing off and on. Oh wait, that was me. But in my defense, the icebreaker worked and I found several people to have a very nice conversation with.

It was just minutes later as we were discussing the architecture of the room (I tried bringing up cheese, but I guess its popularity as a conversation topic is not as high as I always thought) that I found out what my revenge would be. Fortunately, they read off the selected jurors alphabetically, so my wait wasn’t very long. My fate: possible jury selection for a 10-day criminal trial. (Go ahead and ooh and ahh, but pretend you hear that annoying and fast metallic sounding duh-duh sound from Law and Order while you do it). Initially I was as mad as 12 angry men (get it? Now all I need is the obligatory LA Law reference), but then I realized I might enjoy 10-days as a juror (which is translation for being out of the office). Heck, I might want to make a career out of this and travel from courtroom to courtroom as a professional juror. Though I think the $15 a day that they pay might force me to adjust my style of living a little.

Now granted I have to return Friday with 80 other potential jurors for only 14 spots, but my mind is racing as the possibility of me as a juror. Is the fact that I am a daily Monday-Friday blogger a significant reason to be excused from being a juror? What if I tell the judge that I am a blogger and can’t promise that I won’t divulge all the juicy info from the trial on my blog? Ok, yeah, the threat of being held in contempt will probably keep me from doing that. Do I offer up my blog for the judge and both counsels (see, I’m learning the lingo already) to see what I really am about? Do they really want to put the fate of a criminal alleged criminal in the hands of someone like me? Let’s face it; what am I going to do when one of the lawyers makes a statement that is just begging for a ‘That’s What She Said?’ Am I going to have to hold my hands over my mouth, am I going to start squirming, will I jot it down on my legal pad (which will finally be used to write down ‘legal’ things) and then show a fellow juror only to have them give me a dirty look, am I going to ask to approach the bench so that I can tell the judge or am I just going to blurt it out and have to be hauled off by the bailiff? I’m seriously worried about this. It’s not like it has affected my appetite or anything; but still, I’ve got serious concerns about how I’ll perform as a juror.

Then there is always the chance that all of this could be a moot point. Maybe the suspect will be accused of holding up a fondue restaurant or deli. After all, don’t they have to excuse me from the jury when I tell the judge that as far I’m concerned, not doing the same thing too would have been very, very hard? That’s what she said…

****Remember to get your questions in for Q & A Monday. Well it's more of a suggestion than a reminder, really. It's not like I have the power to hold you in contempt or anything. Though I am hoping they sell the authority to do so in the courthouse gift shop.****